Should Lying To Get Sex Be Considered Rape?

May 27, 2015  |  

If you are like most single folks out here in these dating streets, the thought has probably crossed your mind that at least one of your exes deserved to be locked away in a jail cell for lying and breaking your hearts. If you are a New Jersey resident, the good news is that soon you might have an opportunity to do just that.

According to Jenice Armstrong columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, New Jersey law Assemblyman Troy Singleton has sponsored a bill which would make “sexual assault by fraud” a punishable offense. In short, the bill hopes to expand the definition of sexual assault in that state to include “an act of sexual penetration to which a person has given consent because the actor has misrepresented the purpose of the act or has represented he is someone he is not.”

As reported by Armstrong, the inspiration behind the bill is Mischele Lewis, a 37-year-old “suburban-mom-turned-activist” who found out that the man she was dating lied about not only not having children – he has a 10 year old daughter – but also not having a home – he lived in his parent’s basement.

As Lewis told Armstrong in an interview:

“I think it’s important because trying to deceive anyone for the purpose of sexual gratification is just wrong…Every person has the right to knowing consent. And before they consent to be intimate with anybody, they should absolutely know 100 percent who it is that they are being intimate with.”

According to the Daily News report, Lewis met her soulmate online in 2013 as Liam Allen, a supposed secret agent for the British Government. She later found out that his actual name is William Allen Jordan and he is a registered sex offender who was convicted of indecent assault of a minor and once served time in the U.K. for bigamy. In addition to conning Lewis out of her panties, he also conned her out of $5,000 over the course of their courtship.

I’m not going to judge Lewis too harshly, as most of us have fallen for the romantic okey-doke before.  Okay, most of us probably haven’t been conned into believing that our beau was 007, but many of us can readily recount being lied to by a partner who said they were unattached and maybe even childless, when the opposite was true. Hell, it is the entire first season plot of Being Mary Jane.

And as crazy the law is, there is precedence. Tennessee, Alabama and Michigan all have rape by deception laws on the books. And in 2009, the state of California introduced its own rape by fraud law after a man named Julio Morales was arrested and tried for sneaking into a woman’s bedroom at night, pretending he was her boyfriend and proceeding to sex with her. In addition to facing charges for sexually assaulting a sleeping woman, Morales was also convicted for rape by fraud for impersonating the woman’s boyfriend. The conviction was based on an old California law from 1872 that criminalize such deception. However, the appellate courts dismissed the rape by fraud charge, because the law only applied to married women. In 2013, A California assemblyman introduced two bills to expand the existing rape by fraud law so that it included non-married couples and after passing through both the state house and senate with little dissention, the law was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.

Personally, I’m on the fence with these particular laws. I definitely feel like there should be some sort of legal recourse when folks engage in fraudulent or deceptive behavior in intimate relationships, be they consensual or otherwise. There are people who lie about their HIV/AIDS statuses and end up costing someone, or ones, their lives. Surely that kind of treachery deserves some time in prison? Plus, we lock people up for stealing inanimate objects all the time, so why shouldn’t our own bodies deserve the same sort of protection?

But where do we draw the line? What if a guy tells me that he has a big penis and then I find out he is packing nothing bigger than a Vienna sausage. Could I then go to the police station and file charges against him for rape by fraud? Laugh, but the courts are clogged now with this sort of malicious prosecution. If you ask me, these laws are painfully open to interpretation. And that is what kind of scares me.

 

Trending on MadameNoire

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN